Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Cancer | Anticancer Spices

Anticancer Spices

Is it possible that a potential cancer-preventing agent is sitting on your spice rack? According to an article recently published in Experimental Biology and Medicine, the answer may be “yes.”1

In this new article, a scientist from Mexico reviewed the prior test tube and animal studies using saffron as either a cancer preventive or cancer treatment. He found that saffron not only inhibited the formation of new cancers, but in many different types of studies it shrunk existing tumors. In addition, the saffron at times appeared to enhance the anticancer effect of chemotherapy.

The author concluded that the effects of saffron may have been at least partially due to its high content of molecules called carotenoids. Many prior studies have looked at the role of carotenoids, particularly lycopene and beta-carotene, as cancer-preventive and cancer-treatment agents.

Does this mean that we should all start taking saffron to prevent cancer? Probably not. As the author is quick to point out, due to the difficulty of growing and harvesting saffron, supplies are limited and expensive.

This new report contributes more evidence that some foods and spices contain various compounds that appear to have cancer-fighting abilities. For example, rosemary has been shown to prevent breast cancer in animal studies.2 Turmeric is also proposed to have some cancer-preventive benefits.3 In addition, studies suggest that consumption of liberal amounts of fruits and vegetables (particularly cruciferous vegetables) may help prevent some forms of cancer.


1. Abdullaev FI. Cancer chemopreventive and tumoricidal properties of saffron (Crocus sativus L.). Exp Biol Med 2002;227:20–5
2. Singletary KW, Nelshoppen JM. Inhibition of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary tumorigenesis and of in vivo formation of mammary DMBA-DNA adducts by rosemary extract. Cancer Lett 1991;60:169–75.
3. Huang MT, Newmark HL, Frenkel K. Inhibitory effects of curcumin on tumorigenesis in mice. J Cell Biochem Suppl 1997;27:26–34.

Matt Brignall, ND, is in practice at the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center and at the Evergreen Integrative Medicine Clinic in Kirkland, WA. He specializes in integrative treatment of cancer. He is a contributor to Healthnotes and Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2002 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 |

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »

Bastyr Center Disclaimer

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.


Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »

Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University